“Write down everything that makes you laugh today at work.” How many sheets of paper will you be needing for this exercise? None? When a friend handed me this challenge I laughed in his face (count:1), but then when I started doing it I realized how many things give me a chuckle.
I’ve always been a class clown. In 8th grade, my teacher called my parents sternly stating “There is no room for levity in the classroom.” Lucky for me, I had a mom whose defended me responding “There’s always room for levity.”
How can you bring fun to work and still be productive?
Here are some things that have worked for me.
- What would Disney do? I often ask my team this question. What extra delight would Disney add to a boring process or presentation? I’m not saying to add cartoon characters, I’m just saying to think about what would take it from ‘fine’ to ‘great’. It may not always be fun, it may simply be great. I’m always fascinated by the parking lots at Disney World. They are safe and organized. In contrast, at Six Flags you take your life in your hands getting to and from your car. Disney said, “hey, how can we make the parking lot great?” And of course, instead of lot numbers, you get a character.
- Take 5 minutes. It only takes 5 minutes to add in the fun. Take an example where you are given an assignment. You want to just get it done. But what if you just take 5 minutes to brainstorm on how you can add a layer of fun? I did this with my team many times. We ended up with focus groups that used paper doll cutouts, executive presentations with music, and lunch and learns where we played jeopardy and did skits. It didn’t take much effort, just a few minutes of ‘what if?’ The fun energized the team working on it and the people attending.
- Reign it in when the team is in flow. Humor and levity can serve a team well. And there are times when humor can disrupt the flow of ideas. How do you know the difference? Ask yourself “Is this serving the team?” If your team is ignoring your jokes, it might be time for a rest.
How have you used humor and levity in your workplace? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!